609. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress as provided under the programme for Government on €100 million capital investment in the Wild Atlantic Way and greenways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53714/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Wild Atlantic Way Project)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): The Programme for Government provides that the Government will set aside €100 million in additional capital funding for investment in the Wild Atlantic Way, Greenways and a number of other initiatives.  This commitment covers a number of funding programmes and
Departments.
Following from the mid-term review of the Capital Plan, an amount of almost €108 million is being provided for tourism product devel...

610. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress as provided under the programme for Government on €10 million in additional funding for regional airports; the capital expenditure that has been allocated in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53715/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Regional Airports)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The National Aviation Policy, published by my Department in 2015, acknowledges the role played by the regional airports of Donegal, Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry and Waterford as being important in promoting a level of international connectivity to support the tourism and business sectors in their regions.
In this regard I am pleased to inform the Deputy that as part of the Review of the Capital Plan that was carried out by the M...

611. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress as provided under the programme for Government on review of the western rail corridor phase two between Athenry and Claremorris for passenger and freight use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53716/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Rail Network Expansion)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to provide for an independent costing and review of the Western Rail Corridor Phase Two between Athenry and Claremorris for passenger and freight use. It also commits that no measures will be taken to prevent the future reactivation of the Western Rail Corridor for rail use.
The costing and review has not been undertaken but the Deputy will be aware that a number of wi...

612. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress as provided under the programme for Government on TEN-T transport funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53719/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - EU Funding)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Under the Programme for Partnership Government, the Government committed to applying to the European Union for the revision of the TEN-T Core Network, including in relation to the Western Arc. A submission is being prepared for the European Commission for a revision of the TEN-T Core Network, which would seek to facilitate consideration of transport-related project proposals for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility for trans...

613. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress as provided under the programme for Government on capital budget for local and regional roads and the commitment to increase this budget by approximately 50%; the capital expenditure that has been allocated for 2016 and 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53720/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Rural Transport Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the local authority, in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the local authority’s own resources supplemented by State road grants.  The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.
The Capital Plan published in Septem...

614. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress as provided under the programme for Government on rural transport and the commitment that a report will be provided to the relevant Oireachtas committee within six months examining the way in which existing routes can be made more sustainable and accessible to the public and the potential for new routes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53721/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Rural Transport Services Provision)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): In recognition of the value and benefit of rural transport to many communities, the Programme for a Partnership Government undertakes to examine how best to improve integration of services in the rural bus network within regions, and proposed that a report about this should be provided to the relevant Oireachtas Committee. This matter is being examined and developed by my Department in the context of the wider work on which it is no...

615. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if discussions were held between his Department and the FAI regarding the possibility of bidding for the extra games in Euro 2020 after Brussels lost the right to host matches for the tournament; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53523/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Sports Events)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): In partnership with the FAI and Dublin City Council, my Department continues to actively support the planning to host three group games and one second round game as part of the the EURO 2020 Championships in Dublin in June 2020. 
In regard to the recent re-allocation of the EURO 2020 matches originally awarded to Brussels, it is my understanding that the FAI was not in a position to bid for these games.  The decision to re-allocate ...

616. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if officials from his Department have studied the Australian Institute of Sport; his plans to fund something similar to exceed the State’s goals in sporting tournaments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53524/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Sport Ireland)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Sport Ireland, which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body with responsibility for the development of sport, increasing participation at all levels and raising standards.
Sport Ireland, through the National Sports Campus, and the high performance facilities at the Sport Ireland Institute, plays a major role in the preparation of athletes for international competition. Sport Ireland Institute delivers world class support ...

617. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding a bus stop. (Question 53557/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Bus Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The National Transport Authority (NTA) has statutory responsibility for securing or providing public transport in the State in relation to bus stops, bus shelters, bus stations, bus stands and bus fleets.
Noting the NTA’s responsibility in the matter, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Authority for direct reply.  Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
 ...

618. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the Acts, or parts of Acts, awaiting commencement within his area of statutory responsibility; the reason for the delay in the commencement of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53575/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Commencement of Legislation)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The information requested by the Deputy is being collated and will be forwarded to him within ten working days.
 ...

619. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will include two fishing ports (details supplied) in the list of merchant shipping registry of ports here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53599/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Ports Facilities)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Ship registration is currently governed by the Mercantile Marine 1955, as amended.  Section 32(2) of that Act provides that the Minister may by order, after consultation with the Revenue Commissioners, amend the list of ports of registry mentioned in the Second Schedule to the Act.
The Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Act 2014, while not yet commenced, provides a basis for the establishment of an updated and modernised ship ...

620. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if Castlebar train station is to become an unmanned station; and if so, the date of same. (Question 53606/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Railway Stations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 620 to 622, inclusive, together.
The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
 ...

621. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the staffing levels at Castlebar train station; his plans to reduce staff numbers; and the staff positions that will be made redundant. (Question 53607/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Railway Stations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 620 to 622, inclusive, together.
The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
 ...

622. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to remove the station manager from Castlebar train station. (Question 53608/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Railway Stations)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 620 to 622, inclusive, together.
The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the Company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
 ...

623. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to extend a scheme to include a new category (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53623/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Roadworthiness Testing)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): Under a new Roadworthiness Directive, 2014/45/EU, published in 2014, motorcycles, motorcycles with sidecar, motortricycles and heavy quadricycles with an engine displacement of more than 125 cm3 will be required to be roadworthiness tested from 1 January 2022.  However, the Directive allows that where a Member State has effective alternative road safety measures in place for such vehicles, an exemption to this requirement may apply. ...

624. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he is taking to develop a vision zero policy toward road traffic fatalities and serious injuries and to meet the target reductions in these casualties proposed by 2020 at the recent World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53908/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Road Safety)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): After the joint safest year on record, 2015, when 162 deaths were recorded, there was a sharp rise in road fatalities last year.  I tasked all stakeholders to make every effort to reverse this trend during 2017 including through increased frequency of meetings of the Ministerial Committee on Road Safety to once every second months instead of twice yearly.  Thankfully, as a result of the increased efforts by all, road deaths have decr...

625. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to launch a new sports capital programme in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54063/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Sports Capital Programme)

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): The 2017 round of the Sports Capital Programme closed for applications on the 24th February. By the closing date, a record number of 2,320 applications seeking €155 million in grants were received.  When the programme was launched, it was envisaged that €30m would be available which would have made the allocation of grants particularly challenging. Following the conclusion of the budget discussions an...

626. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to increase funding available to the local improvement scheme programme; and the cost of restoring the programme to pre-2012 levels. (Question 54092/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Local Improvement Scheme Funding)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 626 and 630 together.
Due to the major cutbacks in roads funding resulting from the financial crisis it was necessary for my Department to cease making separate allocations to local authorities in respect of  the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) in 2012. No provision was made for LIS in 2012. Since 2013 local authorities have had the option of using a proportion of their Discretionary Grant for LIS sho...

627. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the estimated number of persons that avail of parking at park and ride facilities at all rail stations on a daily basis. (Question 54093/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Park and Ride Facilities)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy’s question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.
 ...

628. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the funding that has been allocated by his Department in 2018 for the introduction of variable speed limits on the M50. (Question 54094/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Funding)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. The planning, design and implementation of individual road projects is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. Within its capital budget, the assessment and prioritisation of individual projects is a m...

629. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding that has been provided to the Coast Guard each year since 2000. (Question 54095/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Coast Guard Services)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The Irish Coast Guard transferred to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport from the Department of the Marine in 2006.  I have provided the funding figures from 2007 onwards. 
The following funding figures are inclusive of both capital and current allocations.
 Year Irish Coast Guard Funding (€’000) 2017 71,485 2016 70,085 2015 66,865 2014 69,762 2013 70,683 2012 48,026 2011 51,083 2010 40,743 2009 3...

630. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to increase funding available to the local improvement scheme programme; and the cost of restoring the programme to pre-2012 levels. (Question 54096/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Local Improvement Scheme Funding)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 626 and 630 together.
Due to the major cutbacks in roads funding resulting from the financial crisis it was necessary for my Department to cease making separate allocations to local authorities in respect of  the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) in 2012. No provision was made for LIS in 2012. Since 2013 local authorities have had the option of using a proportion of their Discretionary Grant for LIS sho...

631. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount of funding his Department has spent on external consultancy contracts in 2017. (Question 54097/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 631, 632, 639, 640 and 642 together.
The information requested by the Deputy is available on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/expenditure-external-services.
A separate index of photography costs is provided at: http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/photography-costs.
It is the policy of my Department in the exercise of its functions to use internal r...

632. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the use of external public relations firms employed by his Department per annum since coming into office, in tabular form; the external public relations firms used; the internal departmental policy with regard to employing external groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54098/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 631, 632, 639, 640 and 642 together.
The information requested by the Deputy is available on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/expenditure-external-services.
A separate index of photography costs is provided at: http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/photography-costs.
It is the policy of my Department in the exercise of its functions to use internal r...

633. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the total photography costs per annum for his Department since coming to office, inclusive of costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance, in tabular form; the list of occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the breakdown of costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 54099/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): I propose to take Questions Nos. 633 and 638 together.
Details of photography costs paid from the Department’s voted funds are published on the Department’s website: http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/english/photography-costs.
These costs are updated and published on a 6 monthly basis, and details for July to December 2017 will therefore be published very shortly. 
It is the policy of the Department that photography costs are kept to a m...